Shopping is an absolute delight in Marrakech and one of the city’s key attractions. Bargaining is essential to do shopping in Marrakech – visitors should start at around one third of what they want to pay.
A good place to buy carpets is Bazaar Chichoua, 5 Souk des Ksous, but be prepared to spend hours drinking mint tea, head shaking, sighing and smiling as rugs and carpets are unrolled. Handmade copper and silverware, silk or cotton garments, wooden articles and jewellery can be found in Ministero del Gusto, 22 Derb Azouz el Moussine or at L’Orientaliste, 15 rue de la Libertie, Guéliz. Trésorie du Sud, Rue el Mouassine, is one of many small jewellers near the Mouassine Mosque.
For leather, Place Vendome, 141 Avenue Mohammed V, is a good bet if quality matters more than price. Chic boutiques cluster in Guéliz around Rue de la Liberté, while Rue Yogouslavie is dotted with hidden galleries. For sartorial and accessories elegance, step into the wonder that is Akbar Delights, 7 rue des Anciens Marrakchis.
Leading off from the northern edge of Jemaa el Fna are the winding alleyways of the souks, the vast, crowded, chaotic central market of Marrakech. Browsers can pick up anything from jewellery, textiles or carpets, to herbs, love potions and donkeys. The souks are best approached from Rue Souk Smarine. This busy thoroughfare runs for half the length of the souks before forking into Souk el Attarine and Souk el Kebir. Leading off the Souk el Attarine are spice, pottery, textiles and metalwork souks. Wander around the Souk el Kebir area to find leather bags and poufs, carpets, lamps and traditional Moroccan clothing.
The government-run Ensemble Artisanal, Avenue Mohammed V, near the Koutoubia Mosque, is a small shopping mall and crafts training centre, offering high-quality goods at reasonable, fixed prices. Centre Artisanal, Kasbah 7 Derb Baissi Kasbah, also specialises in souvenirs, offering everything from traditional clothing to jewellery, home furnishings to carpets. Prices are fixed however.
Shopping hours in the medina are usually Monday to Thursday and Sunday 09:00-19:00, and Friday 09:00-12:00 and 16:00-19:00. In Guéliz, shops open Monday to Saturday 09:00-12:30 and 1530-1900. Some shops may close on Friday.
Carpets, lanterns, jewellery, babouches, jellabas, kaftans, belts, bags, shoes, handicrafts and art are just some of the best buys in Marrakech.
There is no provision in Marrakech for tourists to reclaim any sales tax or VAT. Many shop-owners actively resist giving an official receipt, as this forces them to declare (and pay) the VAT.